Not only is the Blitzbok coach a happy one after some good work done by his squad on the training pitch, he also welcomes the opportunity for his team to get back on the horse and showcase their abilities and more importantly, their team culture to those watching.

And as the team culture includes a ‘never surrender’ attitude, it’s no wonder Ngcobo is adamant that a defensive effort of note will be displayed.

“Our team culture is to never surrender and be dominant defensively, with each player executing at least an 80% tackle completion,” said Ngcobo on Thursday.

“The guys were all reminded of that culture again and they are keen to uphold that this weekend.”

His confidence is built on a good week of training: “We realised that we did not have much to fix apart from a couple of self-inflicted wounds, especially in that quarter-final match we played.

“We got positive again quite quickly and could put in the good work. So the confidence is good, the bodies are feeling good and we are looking forward to that first game.”

Ngcobo said the physical nature of Kenya, their first opponents in Pool B, will force his players to stand firm: “We did well last week, but faltered at a crucial stage, so to be confronted by the physical Kenyans in the very first game will certainly get the mind and body into battle mode.

“We just need to stay focussed and not create soft moments and we will be okay. We believe we must respect the small things in the game and make sure they don't become the big things.”

Seven years ago, Ngcobo scored his first try for the Blitzboks at this tournament, but he insists that individual brilliance will not be the main thing for his squad, and instead he feels they will require a squad effort in Sydney if they want to be successful.

“The margins are small and tactics are also important, and one of those aspects is using the bench, or getting to apply score board pressure,” he said. “That is why we are going to need everyone on the bench to make an impact as well and be able to make a difference.”

  • South Africa won three World Series titles in Australia – in Adelaide in 2008 and 2009, and in Sydney in 2017.

Blitzboks’ pool fixtures (SA times):

Friday 27 January
06h06: Kenya

Saturday 28 January
00h44: Uruguay
06h49: New Zealand

The Springbok Sevens squad (with World Series stats):
Ryan Oosthuizen - 36 tournaments, 174 matches (185 points, 37 tries)
Impi Visser - 25 tournaments, 129 matches (125 points, 25 tries)
Zain Davids - 36 tournaments, 181 matches (165 points, 33 tries)
James Murphy - 12 tournaments, 52 matches (50 points, 10 tries)
Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain) - 44 tournaments, 232 matches (695 points, 139 tries)
Christie Grobbelaar - 11 tournaments, 54 matches (85 points, 17 tries)
Shaun Williams - 8 tournaments, 40 matches (104 points, 16 tries, 12 conversions)
Masande Mtshali - 3 tournaments, 2 matches
Shilton van Wyk - 8 tournaments, 45 matches (85 points, 17 tries)
Darren Adonis - 10 tournaments, 44 matches (54 points, 10 tries, 2 conversions)
Dalvon Blood - 4 tournaments, 21 matches (55 points, 11 tries)
Jaiden Baron - 1 tournament, 5 matches (5 points, 1 try)
Ricardo Duarttee - 3 tournaments, 17 matches (65 points, 5 tries, 20 conversions)